Choosing composite decking

Hello,
I'm replacing my wood decking with a composite decking material and I'm a bit flumoxed by the choice of composites out there. The first thing that got my attention is the price which ranges from $28 - $45 for a 16' length. The big box stores (Lowes, HD) are at the lower end for price and I'm inclined to go with them - my deck is quite large.
As with tools, however, I've found that you get what you pay for. Is there any compelling reason to go with the more expensive composite board? I did find out that the HD composite - Fiberon Veranda brand - uses oak as a wood additive while the Fiberon Professional brand uses maple - 15 vs 20 year warranty respectively.
Can anyone give me a bit of guidance here? Any help is appreciated.
Thanks, Bob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 25 Sep 2006 13:16:57 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

Can't speak to the material issue, but I live in the Mojave desert and that would influence any choice I might make. -- Oren
"Well, it doesn't happen all the time, but when it happens, it happens constantly."
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Since composite decking is less rigid and requires more support than wood, don't forget you'll have to add additional joists -- your base will have to be a maximum of 12" o.c. and even then you may see the decking sag slightly.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ditto that. Nice ripple effect I got with spacing 12" o.c. and crowns up on my 30' deck. Sigh, live and learn I suppose....

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Bob: Make absolutely sure you do your research before hand. Google Veranda deck and you'll see others reviewing its pros and cons. Had I done that with the Eon deck I bought, I wouldn't have had to remove it to return to HD after having all sorts of problems with it (squeaking, popping, expanding). When I finally googled it, there there about 100 posts concerning the same problems.
So, unlike me, do your due diligence... Tim1198
snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Just finished replacing my multi-level deck & balcony with HD Veranda. I've also done projects with Trex. Here's what I've learned:
a) Most composites require underlying support to be 16" OC. Less if you plan on laying decking diagonally. b) While Veranda is cheaper (surprise), it is also thinner than other composites. It is wood grain on one side and groovy on the other side. c) Veranda gets hot during a sunny day. So hot that bare feet cannot stand it. Lowes carries a line that is hollow and may therefore be cooler. d) Color variations between lots are much more pronounced than I would prefer. Sometimes gray is gray but in the next lot, gray is more brown. HD says I should have bought it all at once from one lot to ensure color match. I say..." stick it in your orange aproned ear". Mfg says all will fade to a common color. We'll see. e) If you want tight fitted joints and corners, make sure you square cut the ends prior to installation. Don't assume each plank is square. f) Be aware the ends of Veranda planks will "bloom". That is, the end face will develop a fuzzy bulge that protrudes about 1/4". This can be observed if you inspect some older planks at the store. I originally thought this was a mfg'g issue but have noticed that planks I have trimmed still develop the bloom. I never saw this with Trex. If you will be boxing anything in or building bench seating, etc. this could be an issue.
If I had to do over, I would spend a little more and use Trex or something comparable.
I also used "invisible" fasteners for this project. I began using the "Eb-Ty" system but felt it was too labor intensive. Also, I couldn't find a local distributor, therefore had to order via Yahoo. Then tried a batch of "Tiger Claw" from Home Creepo. These worked on small sections of one deck where the planks were only 4' long. However, they were more expensive, did not include the required stainless steel screws and were difficult to use with composite decking. I decided to continue using them because I could get them locally (HD). When I went back to HD to get a 5# box, I'm told they decided not to carry them any longer (so what else is new?). Ordered larger quantity of Eb-Ty via Internet (turned out they were on sale and quite reasonable) and completed the project with them.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I want to thank everyone who responded with great advice. I did more googling but didn't find consumer reviews of the HD Veranda composite outside this group. I did find a newsgroup with folks who used another composite called Eon and were they bull***t. One guy actually removed it and returned it to HD.
Craven, your information that Veranda being thinner and blooming on the end is good to know. Thinner on hot days means somewhat softer (bounce) and wavy. I'm going to bite the bullet and spend a bit more for something with a track record like Trex.
Thanks again. Bob
Craven Morehead wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I installed a 60' long, wrap-around porch using Trex Origins earlier this year. We really like it! I prefer the Origins version, this is the original, smooth faced Trex. The Accents version has a molded wood grain that has a harsh surface, while the Origins is very nice to walk on in bare feet or even socks, it is smooth but not slippery. I notice that Trex has a high end style called Brasilia that has a contrasting grain colored like ipe, yet is smooth, not rough. It is really great looking but I suppose even more expensive. You will have to go to a real lumber yard to see it, Home Depot does not carry this version.
Trex is about 1/8" thicker than Veranda, although both manufacturers specify 16" spacing. Trex on a 16" center is very solid. I also used it for my steps and even resawed boards down to 1/2" to face some parts of the porch framing. They make 1 x 8 and 1 x 12 boards, but that is thicker than I wanted, and the trim boards are far more expensive than the deck boards.
Trex and other wood composites can be installed with less end spacing than all-plastic decks like Eon.
As another poster stated, you will need to trim all ends. They are simply chopped off at the factory and are not square. Trex allows for this, the 12' boards are over an inch longer to allow for trimming. Trex does not swell after cutting, routing, etc. I routed all the ends of the steps to match the factory rounded corners along the length.
I used FastenMaster's TrapEase screws and highly recommend them for an exposed fastener installation. They are color matched and when you do a nice even installation they look great. They pull in exactly flush using a deck/drywall gun. I did have to pre-drill the boards to be able to sink them without the bit camming out of some screws, even though they are square drive.
-- Dennis
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.